Using this thread to build a tool-kit of strategies that helped transform my classroom and school community. I’ll be dropping resources here throughout the day. Feel free to comment and share yours 🛠

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Kindness Tree and Kindness Recorder

The Research:

University of Washington found gratitude works like a muscle. The more we practice it, the easier it becomes. Check out this great article on gratitude in the classroom and the linkage to higher grades, achievement of goals, and satisfaction with home/school life.

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/gratitude-powerful-tool-for-classroom-owen-griffith

How I Used It:

It was someone’s job to be the kindness recorder and capture at least one kind/helpful act a day. (I liked to assign this to students who I felt could use more practice with this skill). Anyone was allowed to write a kind and helpful act. We had one in our classroom and we also had one in the hallway that included kind and helpful acts from families, administrators, support staff, bus drivers, custodians, etc. at the end of every month, we took down the sticky notes and gave them to the person who led the kind/helpful act.

Prep Hack:

Leaves on the tree are cute, if you want to cut them out, more power to you. I found sticky notes to be just as effective and a lot less time consuming. It also doesn’t have to be a tree, feel free to match it to your community or school culture.

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Thank you! Isn’t it amazing how something so simple as noticing the good around you (however small) changes the dynamic of your room? This was one of my favorites too.

Safe Spot/Break Menu

I have always had a safe spot/break zone in my classroom where students know they can go at any time without judgment. Teaching the skill “I need a break” is really powerful.

Something that helped with expectations was working with students to create a “menu” of things that help provide inner calm when they’re stressed. This is for elementary (feel free to dm me for the menu pdf/book). Options for middle and high school will look different. Feel free to drop suggestions for those!

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A Cozy Corner/Safe Spot from one of the classrooms I coach (elementary/early childhood) a pillow and rug, the box has feeling bears, a menu for options for using the safe spot, paper, crayons, and noise cancelling headphones. That’s it!

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Classroom Jobs

The Research:

Being of service to others activates and strengthens the higher centers of the brain that wire students (and us) for willingness and impulse control. With a job for every student, everyone is contributing to the success of the classroom daily.

How I Used it:

I created a job for every student and a chart. For younger children, you may have to show them how to do them

Prep Hack:

Honestly, this one is kind of a lot of front work, but SO worth it. Most jobs can be used again the following year, so creating the initial jobs is the most time consuming. Here are some ways to hopefully make coming up with jobs easier:

1. Make a list of all the classroom management tasks you do. Decide what can be turned over to students
2. Involve students. Ask them for job ideas, help writing the descriptions, and creating the job board
3. Think in terms of the skills you want to build within the students in your room. Think of jobs that support building communication and social-emotional skills (from Conscious Discipline)

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I’m switching up my format this year. I used to have 6 classroom jobs, and I just wrote them out on a board each month. That got too tedious for 6 classes. This year, I’ve lowered it to just the 4 most-used jobs, and I’ve created a clip chart to track it instead♥️ I’ll only have 4 middle school ELA classes this year, so that helps also I hope we like it!

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Wish Well Station

One of the routines in my classroom was always, as a class, wishing well students that were absent or if a student was going through a difficult time handling strong emotions.

What you need:
—-cards (or supplies for making a card)
—-paper
—-markers/pens
—-for younger elementary kids I included a book with names of children in our classroom and common phrases for writing a card wishing someone well, so they could create independently.

No one was forced to write a card (but I did have a wish well leader as a job in my classroom). The wish well leader made a card or wrote a note and so did I. Talk about a powerful strategy! It feels really good to know you were missed while you were away. Students could also write notes if they saw someone get hurt earlier in the day or noticed they were sad/off. Older kids loved this too!

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thank you so much!! such great ideas and tips.

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Thank you for sharing!

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Meaningful ways to provide encouragement:

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https://youtu.be/cjVJV7G8x3s

I forgot to share this, and it’s probably my favorite resource of them all. It’s kind of a long video (17 minutes) but it provides an explanation of specific language to use when children to take children from a state of fight or flight/upset to being ready to learn. It was maybe the most helpful tool.

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